Anna is a Minnesota native with a passion for speaking Spanish and all things that go along with it. Along with her love for learning, especially linguistics, Anna loves to read and play bad guitar.Interviewed on - 20 February 2015
I chose to study abroad primarily to become fluent in Spanish. Mission accomplished! I also wanted to experience life outside of the United States and see the cultural differences between countries.
Every morning I woke up with strong European coffee and breakfast with my host mom, host sister, and IES Abroad roommate. Then we took the metro to our classes, always beginning with Spanish grammar at the IES Madrid Center. I then walked to class at la Universidad Complutense where I took classes with native Spaniards and some other international students like me. Lunch would be with my Spanish or IES Abroad friends, and at night I’d eat dinner with my host family and roommate.
It was difficult to transition from living in a dorm with my best friends in the U.S., to being in an apartment far from any friends except my roommate. I had a lot of alone time, which—although lonely at first—forced me to get to know myself and be active in my loving of my study abroad experience.
I spent the majority of my weekends during my study abroad traveling—I traveled to 15 cities in the four months I was abroad! So, I’d love to revisit Madrid to experience some of the places I missed since I was so busy traveling to other cities. I hardly ever experienced the Madrid weekend nightlife, and I’d love to visit the museums and other cultural centers I didn’t get to see.
IES Abroad was a very all-encompassing program. IES gave me the perfect mix of independence and community that allowed me to fully explore Spain, but still have a home program center to go back to. All of the staff were helpful with trite things such as books for class, and more serious things like scheduling my doctor’s appointment when I broke my ankle within the first month! I love that IES is a large organization with a lot of variety in travel locations and programs, but the actual local program center, like the Madrid staff, is very small and intimate. They remembered everyone’s names and treated us like family!
I will definitely be traveling or studying abroad again. I think I can speak for everyone who has had a successful study abroad experience and say that after the one time abroad, you want to travel for the rest of your life! I hope to travel all over South America to further improve my Spanish, especially with the different dialects that exist between Spain and the Americas.